Thursday 20 January 2022

Dutch MPs back free coronavirus tests for holidaymakers


Ministers have agreed to come up with a plan to cover PCR coronavirus tests for holidaymakers within the next two weeks, after a majority of MPs said they backed free testing for people going on vacation.

D66, the CDA and GroenLinks are among the parties which say it is not fair to expect youngsters to pay for an expensive private test to go on holiday, simply because they are not yet eligible for a vaccine.

The European parliament wants all EU countries to offer free coronavirus tests to their citizens, to avoid discriminating against people who don’t want a vaccine and for economic reasons.

The European Commission, however, says the matter is up to member states themselves.

Commercial test centres in the Netherlands charge around €85 for a PCR test, which would add hundreds of euros to the price of a family holiday.

Some tour operators, such as TUI, Sunweb and Corendon, are offering customers a discount on a commercial coronavirus test.

Although health minister Hugo de Jonge said earlier he did not think taxpayers should pick up the bill, prime minister Mark Rutte told MPs in Wednesday’s debate that no final decision has yet been taken.

There are legal obstacles to free testing, he said, pledging to return to parliament with a plan in two weeks.

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